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Classic Interview Questions and Answers

In what ways are you a team player?

Alternative and related questions:

Do you prefer working on your own or as part of a team?
How would you define teamwork?
Can you tell me about a team you worked in and the role you played within that team?
What do you think makes a perfect team?

The meaning behind the question:

Teamwork is essential in almost any work environment. Questioning your ability to work in a team is therefore one of an interviewer’s favourites. They’ll be looking for evidence of a number of core abilities:

  • The ability to communicate effectively with others
  • The ability to recognise and understand the viewpoints of others
  • The ability to appreciate the contribution you are expected to make

Your answer:

This is a very important and very popular question which could be phrased in many different ways. As well as pre-preparing your answer to, “In what ways are you a team player”, you should also draft answers to all the alternative questions I’ve listed above. There will be common ground between your answers but each will have a slightly different slant to it.

You could answer the question in the context of your current job but you’d be better off approaching it from the angle of the job for which you are applying. They’re asking you in what ways you are a team player but you need to be asking yourself in what ways will they want you to be a team player. Are they looking for a leader? Are they looking for someone who brings out the best in others? Are they looking for the person who generates the ideas or the person who is a dab hand at putting new ideas into practice?

Establish in your own mind what sort of a team player they want you to be and then deliver an answer which caters to that image.


I certainly very much enjoy working with others; I’m outgoing, I enjoy the team spirit and I’m understanding of the needs of others. I’m good at helping the team to see the bigger picture – to see the wood from the trees – helping them to focus on what really matters rather than getting bogged down in irrelevant detail. I’m also good at helping the team to spot flaws in our approach – and potential problems and pitfalls. I believe I have strong communication skills and, while I don’t yet have experience in a leadership role, I do have a talent for liaising between different team members and resolving any disputes which may arise. Conflict between different team members is rarely very productive and is normally best avoided.

The Interview Question & Answer Book

The Interview Question and Answer Book

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More classic interview questions and answers


How would you describe yourself? / How would your boss/colleagues/team/family/friends describe you?

In what ways are you a team player?

Do you work well on your own initiative?

What techniques do you use to get things done?

What motivates you?

Are you proactive?

Are you creative?

Are you a risk-taker?

How do you handle pressure and stress?

Can you tell me about a time when you have failed to achieve a goal?

What's the worst mistake you've made at work and how did you deal with it?

How would you handle the following situation?

Can you tell me about a major project you have successfully completed?

Can you tell me about a major problem at work that you've had to deal with?

We have a problem with x. How would you resolve that?

What do you do when you disagree with your line manager?

How would you describe yourself as a manager?

Can you give me an example of when you have successfully coached a member of your team?

What is your customer service philosophy?

How did you get your last job?

What does your current job involve on a day-to-day basis?

What contribution do you make to the department in which you work?

What changes have you made to your current job role since you started?

What have you learned in your last job?

Can you tell me about your last appraisal?

How would you describe your current boss?

Why did you leave that job?

Which of your jobs was the best?

Why is there a gap in your resume/CV?

What do you know about us as an organisation?

What do you know about our products/services?

What do you think are our organisation's greatest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?

What do you know about the vacancy for which you are applying?

How do your skills and experience match the job description/person specification?

What appeals to you most about this vacancy?

Why have you chosen this line of work?

Are there any other organisations to which you are applying?

How does this job compare to others for which you are applying?

Can you describe your ideal employer to me?

What sort of person would you most like to work for?

In what ways is your degree relevant to the work you are now doing?

What have you learned and how have you developed over the last year/five years?

What sports are you/have you been involved in?

Do you know what the current headline news is?

How quickly can you adapt to a new work environment?

Would it be a problem if we asked you to work overtime/evenings/weekends?

What is your current salary package?

What salary package are you expecting for this role?

When would you be available to start?

Do you mind if we contact your current employer for a reference?